The Giants added a former local prep star full of power when they selected Hunter Bishop out of Arizona State with the No. 10 pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. They could use the same philosophy at the July 31 MLB trade deadline.
As the Cardinals reportedly have long been interested in a trade for Giants closer Will Smith, the Giants should be just as interested in a Cardinals outfield prospect. Sacramento native Dylan Carlson, who was the No. 33 overall pick out of Elk Grove High School in the 2016 MLB Draft, is the exact kind of player the team needs.
Carlson, 20, is a 6-foot-2 switch-hitting outfielder, who has crushed the ball this season for the Cardinals' Double-A affiliate. Through 81 games for the Springfield Cardinals, Carlson is hitting .294 with 14 home runs and a .902 OPS. He's stolen 13 bases, too.
Though many outlets project Carlson as a right fielder in the major leagues, he has the ability to play all three positions in the outfield. This season, he's played 62 games in center field, nine in right and five in left. He also has showcased a strong arm with 32 career outfield assists in the minors.
While every member of the Giants outside of Smith was on vacation during the All-Star break, Carlson joined Giants prospects Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos on the NL squad at the Futures Game. He started in right field and went 1-for-2 with an RBI single. And he's been on fire since showcasing his talents against the best prospects in baseball.
In three games since the Futures Game, Carlson has gone 8-for-15 and hammered a solo shot to right field Thursday night.
Carlson is an interesting case to look at with him being a switch-hitter, too. He has way more at-bats left-handed this year than from the right side -- 253 to only 60 -- and has had some more success as a lefty. From the left side, he's hitting .300 with 10 homers and a .917 OPS compared to .267 with four long balls and an .838 OPS right-handed. But many evaluators believe his right-handed swing is more consistent.
Here's a look at Carlson's spray chart for his entire career in the minors, via Baseball Savant. It's clear he has power to all field as a switch-hitter.
The Giants need right-handed power hitters with how Oracle Park plays, but Carlson being a switch-hitter shouldn't scare off the front office. His left-handed power could be just as valuable if the team does indeed move in the fences to cut off Triples Alley in right-center field.
Now, would the Cardinals trade their No. 2 prospect who looks to be on the fast track to the big leagues? Trying to acquire him surely will be a tough game of tug of war for the Giants front office, and it could certainly cost more than a few months of Smith. If that is the case, the young outfielder is worth it.
The Giants need to get younger, more powerful and more athletic at the trade deadline. Carlson checks all the boxes.
Giants should target Cardinals prospect Dylan Carlson in Will Smith trade originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area